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When you tell people you live in Barbados, they usually go ‘wow’, and have this picture perfect vision of sandy beaches and cobalt blue seas.  Barbados is a beautiful country, and it is always crazy, crazy hot.  But it is not always picture perfect.  In fact, it is very rare (especially in our new house) to go a week without at least one torrential downpour.  When it rains here, it rains.  And recently it has been raining a lot.  The temperatures have easily been hitting the 35 mark (95 Fahrenheit for my friends across the pond) making the humidity almost unbearable this summer.  I can’t wait for December, when it drops down to around 30 degrees and life is a lot more bearable.

Anyway, the other day we had some friends over for dinner, and Billy called us over to witness this amazing phenomenon.

It was one of those wierd-weather moments that looked amazing to the naked eye, but pants on my camera.  Basically, we could see a single column of rain pouring from a very angry looking cloud, but the rest of the sky remained rain-free.

I have had to pop the contrast an insane amount on this image, so apologies for the instagram-look, I hope you can appreciate how big this column was, and how the cloud looks almost like a sugar bowl ‘pouring’ the water out beneath it 🙂

As always guys, thanks for reading, and keep on snapping x

Wednesday was Barbados’ Independence day, which basically means no one can get married, and that I am able to give the team and myself a well deserved day off.  This is always good news.  Even better news was that our dear friends Mike and Jenny, who we met on our first ever contract with Colorbox aboard  the Thomson Destiny, were in Barbados the same day as a port of call on their holiday cruise.

Mike and Jenny are awesome.

Jenny dances amazingly, and Mike is a fantastic singer.  We were very lucky that they could make it to our wedding a year and a bit back, and Mike did us the honour of singing our first dance, along with a genius set.  If you want to hear the dulcet tones, (which I strongly recommend) you can hear him here. 🙂 For an even further shameless plug, BOOK HIM IF YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED IN THE UK, HE IS AMAZING! 😉 (Cheques made payable to me please Mike)

Anyways, back to the fun events of Wednesday…So we were ridiculously fortunate that the guys’ visit coincided with an unheard of day off during the week, and even more so that we got a tiny spot of sunshine during the otherwise miserable weather we have been experiencing lately.

As is now customary, we took the guys up to the Animal Flower Cave for the amazing views.  As we headed over, the short spell of sunshine was replaced with spitting rain.  I suggested we head to Bathsheba.  Luckily Jimbly insisted we head to the Cave, and I am so glad he did.

As we drove down the pot-hole ridden lane that leads to the amazing views, my heart skipped a beat as I saw what looked like a tornado skitting across the water out at sea.  We bundled out of the car as quickly as we could – I ran ahead with the camera in hand whilst Sian scrabbled to get our long 70-200 lens out.  It was awesome.

Later research proved that it was a water spout that we witnessed.   It was remarkably hard to expose for the spout.  As is often the way in photography, your eyes are so much better than even the mighty sensor of our wonderful D700.  Looking out to sea, it was very obvious to the naked eye, but there was very little contrast in the skyline, and no amount of underexposure seemed to make the spout ‘pop’ as much as it did in real life.  I was also greeted with an incredibly mucky sensor when I came to process these photos.  No matter how careful we are with changing our lenses, out here where there is so much sand and wind, it is inevitable to get crap in your sensor…an occupational hazard I guess. 🙁

As such, the pictures are a little less sharp than I would normally like – This is a classic example of me out of my comfort zone! Low light is fine, harsh sunlight with lots of contrast, I can deal with…but flat skylines with little contrast in them are clearly an area I need to improve upon.

And unfortunately time was not on our side.  As soon as I had popped off a few frames, the spout disappeared from the skyline, and a very hot and sticky sun reared it’s head back out for us.  We were so very lucky to have seen the spout at all!

We had to get Mike and Jenny back to their ship before it sailed onto the next port without them, so we had just enough time for a group snap before jumping back into the car and heading for the port.  This proved to be another wonderfully smug moment for me – always having the massive tripod in the boot paid off once again.

So a massive thanks to Jenny and Mike for making the 4000ish mile journey to come and see us – it was wonderful to see you both again, and as always seems to be the way, the fact we had visitors meant we saw another part of Barbados we otherwise wouldn’t have.  I was also made privy to the fact that Mike’s mum is a reader of my blog too…which is massive news.  This one’s for you Mike’s mum, thanks so much for reading – make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything, and thanks for giving us all such a lovely chap 😉

And as always, thanks for reading guys x

Yesterday, Sian, James and myself poodled on down to the Spring Garden Highway, to see the end of the procession of the legendary ‘crop over’ festival.

Crop over celebrates, as you’ve probably guessed, the final harvesting of the year’s sugar cane crop.  Traditionally it was a celebration of the end of a gruelling and long season, and has now developed into the massive festival that it is today.  We went down for the grand finale – ‘Kadooment day’ but our plans were some what dampened by the weather.

It’s hurricane season out here at the moment, and so we are periodically treated to massive down pours and electrical storms. Yesterday was no exception.

We had hoped to get down to see the end of the five mile procession, that starts at the Gymnasium and finishes down on the Spring Garden Highway, but seeing as how I am not the biggest fan of swimming, and the fact that I didn’t really want to drown the camera, we waited a few hours in the hope the rain would stop.  It certainly died down towards mid afternoon, so we resigned ourselves to getting wet and headed down.

As with all festivals, especially ones of this size, (they reckon about 20,000 people come to Barbados for Kadooment) there is money to be made.  Lots and lots of money.

So what happens is various bands are formed.  These bands offer a racy costume, and access to a number of parties before the big Kadooment procession.  On the day, you wear your costume, which can cost anything between $300 and $2000, and join your other band members on the jump.  This basically means following a truck, loaded with an awesome PA, crap load of rum and beer and dancing for 5 miles.  It’s pretty awesome.

By the time we had got there though, we feared we had missed the procession. Waiting for the rain to die down had meant we got there later than planned, and as we walked down the highway we saw a lot of ‘jumpers’ walking back to their cars, soaked through and looking, quite rightly, exhausted.

We stood around and had a few beers, and just as we turned to leave, a procession picked up, and we were thrown into the frenzy of Crop Over.

The general rule of jumping, or ‘winding’ as it’s called, is very simple.  Ladies rub their behind provocatively in the crotch of a bloke, who stands behind pounding her mercilessly.  I thought that they played dominoes aggressively, but this is a whole new level.

And that’s the national dance.

It really isn’t very pleasant – and what’s worse; there are young kids of 5 and 6 standing on the street side doing it themselves…I’m afraid to say that I  felt very British as I tried to find other, more savory things to photograph – during which time Sian got ‘wound’ herself:

The costumes were pretty awesome though, and fair play to the band members – they had been jumping since 6am that morning – were all soaked through and had danced for well over 5 miles – yet when they came back through us, the energy was simply amazing.

As you can probably tell, the light was really, really dull – we had massive storm clouds above stopping any available sunlight dead in its tracks.  This meant that there was no definition in the photos – they looked lack luster and drab…so I popped the old flash remotes on, held the flash as far away form the camera as I could (you know by now how much I hate using on camera flash) and got these bad boys:

After the frenzy of the parade, a few usable shots and couple of beers later, the heavens opened and we ran for the car – desperate to get ourselves and our kit dry.

Despite getting there late, and seeing only the very end of the festival, Sian and I have promised each other that we will jump ourselves next year…I need to start working out though – I’ll do my back in with all that thrusting in my current physical state, and judging by the amount of shoes that didn’t make it…I’m not too sure how well my flabby carcus will fare…

Back to work tomorrow – be back soon 🙂

Ferg x